A ride of no consequence but much effort.

My what a day today has been! Really sunny here in the UK and very much t-shirt weather. Way too warm for the time of year but what the heck; it's wonderful to ride in. I took today off work as my line manager indicated that I could not hold on to any annual leave until next year. Fair enough, but what to do? DiY? Nah, too boring. Some of the stuff I've been given from work to do at home? That seemed a bit self defeating in a way. So no, I didn't do anything responsible or constructive - I went for a ride out instead. On my own. Billy No Mates.

My PACE RC303 is still broken - mainly because I can't be bothered to fix it. Just needs a new cassette, but I've buried the bike under all of my old retro ones and the kids BMX bikes. So I took the Tassajara out. My what a bike that is. Built it over two years ago and used a handfull of times since. Always regarded the RC303 as the bike of choice, yet after today I'm wondering what I did wrong with the RC. You see the Tassajaa was faster absolutely everywhere, and yet it only has 90mm forks as against the 140mm of the PACE. The PACE should rock but it doesn't. I suspect the forks may be at fault, so I'm going to mess with them.

The Tassajara is a long XC based bike. Sure it is sub 25lb, but that should make it flighty and temperamental. Instead it is sure footed, quick turning and very controlled. Coming down the chalk path it was so fast that it kicked the rear tyre out sideways but the front kept it all tame. I was tempted to change into the big ring but my vision was blurred enough already. On the chalk descent down Stane Street it was never deflected by the flint rocks at all, and in the dippy bit I didn't need to pedal on the upslope at all such was the momentum. My PACE should outclass this bike in every respect but it is pants in comparison.

In the end I did around 26 miles in a shade over 3 hours, which is OK but not particularly fast or lengthy. It felt tiring though, so I've definitely not got any summer legs yet. Indeed the whole ride was a bit patchy; fast on the flat or down bits, but sluggish on the ups. Box Hill was well into the ten minute slot and my arms were all wibbly at the top. Mind I did beat a pair of seventy years old up, so bonza there. Stick that old people..... Er, but I didn't beat them by much ;¬( And they really were 70+ man and wife by the looks of things. I wanted to have a chat with them at the top, but they rode straight off without stopping at the cafe. Just as well really: "Hey old people, you're amazing. Like shouldn't you be dead by now?"

Of note on the ride are the changes to the landscape that have happened of late. The Banstead Conservators have been cutting down bracken near to the golf course - one supects the little bit of excellent singletrack will go shortly. They've also been putting up staggered gates to stop horses, motorcyclists and us lot from using the tracks in the woods. That's just mean and I feel it slightly shortsighted of them. I guess they're conserving and not promoting? Really I should find out instead of conjecting shouldn't I? But it doesn't look good for the best bits of singletrack this side of Headley. Talking of which, the Heath is looking really dry now which is a bit of a worry. We're low on water as it is, so if we don't get any rainfall soon there's going to be a lot of water stress in Surrey. Indeed the bamboo in my garden that has been un-killable for almost a decade is now starting to go brown. I give my lawn a month before it dies off. Both of my water butts have but a few inches in the bottom.

And Box Hill cafe, my my what's happened there? I now the coffee and cake is good, but today I got stiffed for £4 just for a slice with a black coffee. That's more than Costa or Starbucks would charge. Olympic effect? Have to pay for all the work the National Trust have been doing of late. They're asking for volunteers to work there, but surely they've enough income to pay a decent wage?